Small businesses are the backbone of the United States economy. They provide jobs for millions of people, and they account for a large percentage of the country’s GDP. Unfortunately, small businesses also face a number of common threats that can jeopardize their success. In this article, we will discuss some of those threats and how they can protect themselves to prolong the lives of their businesses.
What are these common threats to small businesses?
1. Online threats — hackers, malware, and ransomware
Many small businesses are turning to the internet for advertising and marketing, whether it be through Google Adwords or social media platforms. However, with that comes a risk of cyber-attacks including hackers gaining access to their sensitive information, viruses slowing down their machines, and ransomware restricting access to important files. These can all lead to missed opportunities which directly affects the business’ productivity. In addition to this, many of the people employed by a small business typically have access to the company’s network which makes them key targets for hackers.
2. Natural disasters
Weather can affect small businesses in a number of ways that could be devastating to their livelihoods. Flooding and damaging storms can directly impact small businesses by damaging their buildings and inventory. While some small business owners may be financially capable of rebuilding, they will still miss out on revenue until they can reopen their doors. In addition to this, many small businesses might find it necessary to temporarily relocate after a natural disaster occurs, leading to missed sales that could have been made had the company remained in operation.
Thieves can pose a threat to small businesses in several ways, including stealing their products and selling them elsewhere for a higher price, or they might steal directly from the business’ location. This generally happens when there are no employees around or during hours that an employee is supposed to be present, but in some cases, an employee might be responsible for thefts and robberies.
4. Disease outbreak
Small businesses can suffer financial losses during times of disease outbreaks, especially if there is a quarantine in place to limit their access to the market, much like the Coronavirus outbreak we are still experiencing or when certain areas of New York had to be quarantined after the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States.
5. Competition from larger businesses
Lastly, small businesses often struggle to compete with larger businesses. While large companies might have greater advertising budgets, allowing them to reach many more people than the smaller company can, they also take their toll on existing small businesses by taking away much of their clientele since most consumers will choose the business that charges less for its products or services.
What can small businesses do to protect themselves against these threats?
Clearly, small businesses can’t protect themselves from every kind of risk that threatens their livelihoods. However, they might be able to insure against some of those risks which could help them continue operating after a major catastrophe takes place. In addition to this, having an insurance policy will allow you to take any legal action necessary should thieves steal from your company. General liability insurance plans can also be purchased to protect against any lawsuits that may arise from injuries on your property. There are even insurance plans available to help small businesses cover the costs of their employee’s medical bills if they become ill.
2. Develop security protocols
Even when they do have an insurance policy in place, most business owners will also take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against cyber-attacks as well as other types of dangers such as fires and storms. A business can do this by developing security protocols that will improve safety without sacrificing too much productivity. In addition to this, a business might want to invest in closed-circuit surveillance systems that allow employees to use cameras for their own protection or create a buddy system that encourages employees to look out for one another while at work.
3. Being innovative and staying competitive
As businesses evolve, they have to adapt in order to remain competitive. While this is generally difficult for small businesses that might not have the resources available to larger corporations, they can still compete by being innovative and offering customers something that no other company is able or willing to provide them. This could be anything from creating a unique product line to providing excellent customer service.
The above article covers the most common threats that small businesses face, and what they can do to protect themselves. It’s important for any business owner to take these steps in order to continue operating during a disaster or other crisis.